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China Daily:China-Laos railway achieves tech breakthrough2019-04-30 09:30:47

Engineers finishwork on 18 steeltruss complexesof major bridgeon BRI route

By MA CHENGUANGin Yuanjiang, Yunnanmachenguang@chinadaily.com.cn

The Yuanjiang Railway Bridge,which has the tallest bridge pier inthe world and the longest span

between two piers, and is part ofthe Chinese section of the925.5­kilometer China­Laos railway, has got a major boost afterbuilders finished installing 18 outof the 56 steel truss complexesforming the bridge.The 832.2­meter­long railwaybridge, which spans the YuanjiangRiver with four piers in between andtwo platforms at both ends, is considered one of the difficult projectson the China­Laos railway, a majorundertaking in the Belt and RoadInitiative.

“We are now heading to the highest pier and hope to reach it beforethe end of October this year,” saidZhou Jihong, a project managerfrom the China Railway No 4 Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREC4), the

company building it.The main span of Yuanjiang Railway Bridge is 249 meters in lengthwhile its No 3 pier is 154 metershigh, about the height of 54 storiesin a high­rise, said Zhou.

The foundations of the tallest piergo 78 meters underground and took22 months to build, and can withstand a weight of more than 150,000metric tons even without the passing of the trains, said Chen Changguo, deputy Party secretary of theFifth Division of CREC4 which participated in the project.

The dual­track bridge, spanningthe V­shaped Honghe River Canyonin Southwest China’s Yunnan province, is one of 134 bridges being builton the 508.5­km Chinese section ofthe railway, which links Yuxi city inYunnan and the Lao capital Vientiane and will be fully operational inDecember 2021.According to Chen, construction ofthe Chinese section, also called theYuxi­Mohan Railway, began in April2016 with an investment of 51.6 billion yuan ($7.9 billion) and 86.12 percent of it is comprised of bridges andtunnels, joining the Mohan­Botenborder gate in northern Laos.The 417­km­long Lao section,

linking Mohan­Boten and Vientiane, has an operating speed of 160km per hour with an investment of

37.4 billion yuan, said Kang Ning,the publicity chief for the Fifth Division of CREC4.As a demonstration project inChina’s “going global” strategy forits high­speed railways, the ChinaLaos railway is an achievement inSino­Lao cooperation under theBRI, she said, adding that they willalso try to make it into an importantchannel for China to better connectwith the outside world for economicand cultural exchanges.“China aims to build a 5,500­km.Trans­Asia Railway, which begins in

Yunnan’s provincial capital Kunming and travels through Laos,Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia, before endingin Singapore,” said Ding He, a deputy project manager for the railway

project who is also from CREC4.Earlier, China and Thailand started building Thailand’s first highspeed railway in December 2017,which will link to the China­Laosrailway, Ding said.Bai Yunxia, a deputy director fromthe Qiaotou Community of HongheStreet at Yuanjiang Hani, Yi and Daiautonomous county, said her community of 3,347 people are hopingthat the railway would start operations soon so as to make transportation more convenient and the localeconomy more prosperous.